The people of Taraba state may have elected a female governor this weekend. Still waiting to see if INEC ratifies the elections but I’ll jump the gun anyways and say congratulations to Governor- Elect Hajia Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan. The Nigerian blogs are on fire because many Nigerians are excited to finally have an elected female governor? For those who don’t know, Taraba state is in the North Eastern part of Nigeria, bordered by Plateau and Benue State on the West and on the east by Cameroon. Taraba state is also one of the states where Boko Haram has been active. It is fitting that the people of Taraba state by electing a female governor gave an electoral middle-finger to and shut up Boko Haram as well as those who through their stereotypes and ignorance minimize the roles of women. Potential governor-elect Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan is not a political novice riding the coat-tails of a father or a husband, she is a former senator and a lawyer. She has a history of reaching across religious lines which is important in Nigeria.
Some Nigerian men have been posting stupid nonsense about “tokenism.” Curiously, many of these men are from the southern part of Nigeria and likely do not know anything about potential Governor-elect Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan or Taraba state. They do not understand how the people of Taraba state could potentially elect the most qualified candidate. In their evaluation a woman could never be the most qualified candidate. These good educated men continue to create barriers for women in Nigeria hiding behind their words and spewing misinformation, and sexism. But this is a time for celebration and there is work to be done. The people of Taraba state spoke out loud and clearly. Even if the INEC ratified data shows that she lost, Taraba state still won as a woman competed fairly. Congratulations to them. Hopefully the rest of the nation can catch up soon.
If you are deathly sick and need major surgery do you ask your doctor for his or her political affiliation? Common sense dictates that you chose the most qualified surgeon that you can afford. What if your car or house needs extensive repairs, do you choose an incompetent contractor because he or she shares your religious or political beliefs? So why do we continue to elect idiots by voting along party lines? Why are we electing incompetent sheriffs, school board members, land commissioners, tax assessors, etc based on their political parties? A treasurer should have the ability to do the job and at the primaries does it matter how many guns he or she owns? How dare we empower illiterate people who have demonstrated clearly through their utterances that they have no clue about history, education or even basic mathematics with the power to determine educational curriculum? Folks we need to stop electing idiots. People complain about problems but do not take the time to vote at the local level. Some of these elections are determined by less than 100 votes. Apathy is not the answer nor is voting along party lines, do your homework and prevent the continued erosion of the collective intelligence of the next generation. Let’s stop electing idiots and choose the best candidates for each task.
When I saw the video of the SAE chant I was not shocked that the frat boys used the word N**R in a chant. But in what universe do privileged college students think it’s ok to “hang someone from a tree” just because they do not want him to join their stupid fraternity? What’s so special about their fraternity anyway, do they shit in golden commodes? So two of the lead chanters have been expelled. The fraternity has also been kicked off OU campus. One of the expelled chaps has apologized, but his apology included a hollow attempt to make himself and fellow chanters victims that now require protection on campus? But what lessons have been learned? Do these people know the history of lynchings and strange fruit that hung from Oklahoma’s trees not so long ago? Do these students know the history of OU and the state of Oklahoma and how firmly entrenched prejudices are in the law books? Or is it just a joke that only has consequences when they get caught? There was a bus load of college students actively chanting hateful words and they were enjoying themselves. They sang with the joviality of little kids singing London bridge is falling down. Imagine if a busload of black, or brown students had made a chant about lynching whites who wanted to join their fraternity would any of them be ever allowed on campus? What lessons have been learned? These students are the future lawyers, judges, political leaders and professionals in Oklahoma? And their greatest creativity is in hanging a rejected pledgee from a tree because of his skin color.
A few parents have been on the news recently because their kids joined ISIL or other cults. The scary part is that the kids were just so regular and so average as were the families and we may be tempted to say it could happen to anyone. But as parents we can fight and prevent it. We can do something, anything and stop our kids from feeling so hopeless and easy prey to these cults. The first step to cult/gang proofing our kids is spending time with them and building up their individuality. They do not need the latest toys or gadgets as much as they need us. We can teach them to revel in their own quirks and let them know that stranger danger includes religious fanatics and gangs. We should tell them the truth about scary topics otherwise they will get their truth elsewhere. We must stop trying to make them fit in with others, celebrate their awkwardness, absurd humor and abstract art and music. We should let them develop their own voice and celebrate each assertive gesture. It’s so easy to blame the environment when we had at least 10 years to cult/gang proof our kids but failed because we were too busy chasing money, career or prestige.
There is a need to wrestle the name of God from the haters. Daily, someone evokes God’s name chanting hate, oozing hate, despising, damning, condemning, others, in the name of God? Their god is hate not love. Their god is not my God. My God is love. Love is my God. Their paradise has no room for love. There is a need to take back the name of God! As a person of faith I must stand up for love and rebuke hate. When I say nothing or do nothing I betray love. My love must exceed and extinguish their hate. My kindness must exceed and extinguish their violence. I will stand up for Love and against hatred, prejudice and bigotry. My God is Love and Love is stronger than hate. My Love is greater than their hate. Hate does not speak for me. Hate cannot speak for me. Marvin Gaye sings it best here please enjoy
Look away and wash your hands after all you are not guilty of any action, just apathy and silence. So what can we do to stop the injustice. 1) Get rid of leaders who have no empathy especially those that dance when kids are being murdered under their watch. 2) Admit that each life matters not just your family or tribe but each child needs to be cherished and protected. 3) Next time an idiot blames a victim of genocide bitch-slap the idiot with some knowledge especially if the idiot is your religious or political leader. 4) Raise your voice in unison with others that give a damn, mobilize for action and shout “enough is enough”. 5) Learn from the past, say and mean it “not on my watch”. 6) Use your time, talent and or treasure to seek change 7) Genocide is not acceptable , not in Nigeria, not in Uganda, not in Central African Republic, not anywhere in Africa and definitely not anywhere. 8) Otherwise look away and wash your hands but please remember to shut up with your bogus conspiracy theories.
There is a new generation of praise singers that constantly sell their souls and voices to the highest bidder. They are so loved by the rich and powerful as they complement every word, idea, spewed by these people for some rice, naira, dollar, or whatever tip, privilege or opportunity that is tossed in their direction. They praise with their blogs, their songs, their dances and worship at the feet of their masters, who can do no wrong. These praise singers are spineless chameleons changing colors and teams without blinking. Curiously resilient their voices are loud and they reap the rewards of their ‘loyalty’ as they ascend to levels previously reserved for sacred cows. Once in a while, however an insane master, unmoved by the incessant adulation, crushes a praise singer, like roach. Before we can get used to the quiet another praise singer arises ululating dirges to the memory of the fallen gong.